Ice around the world is now melting at a record rate, according to recent research findings published in the journal The Cryosphere. According to Thomas Slater, lead author and researcher from the University of Leeds, the consequences of the ice loss will be felt globally. The researchers’ data shows that ice loss rates are now in line with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) worst-case scenario. The IPCC is one of the leading authorities on climate matters globally.

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The paper has revealed that about 28 trillion metric tons of ice were lost in the period between 1994 and 2017. According to the authors, that amount of ice would be equivalent to a 100-meter-thick ice sheet covering the U.K. The loss of ice is attributed to global warming.

Related: IPCC landmark report warns about the state of the oceans, polar ice content and the climate crisis

The researchers have been studying the rate of global ice loss for the past 23 years by analyzing satellite data. Over the study period, there has been an increase of about 57% in ice melting. In the 1990s, ice loss was at 0.8 trillion metric tons per year but has since increased to 1.2 trillion metric tons in 2017. Of more concern is the fact that half of the ice was lost from land, which means that it will contribute directly to sea-level rise.

According to Inès Otosaka, co-author of the report and a doctoral researcher at the University of Leeds, the loss of ice will have significant effects on sea levels and freshwater sources.

“As well as contributing to global mean sea level rise, mountain glaciers are also critical as a freshwater resource for local communities,” Otosaka said. “The retreat of glaciers around the world is therefore of crucial importance, at both local and global scales.”

The study, dubbed Earth’s Imbalance, was completed by various researchers from the University of Leeds, University of Edinburgh, University College London and Earthwave. The research was funded by the U.K. Natural Environment Research Council, and it is the first comprehensive study on the loss of ice globally.

+ The Cryosphere

Via The Guardian

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